On 18 February 2016, the Government announced a consultation to reform the cost of an application for a Grant of Probate (also known as a Grant of Representation). The proposed regime will depart from the current fixed fee arrangement and change to a banded fee structure which will be linked to the value of the estate.
Currently, the application fee for a Grant of Representation where the deceased’s estate is over £5,000 is a fixed fee of either £155 if the application is made by a solicitor, or £215 for a personal application. Once the new proposed fees are in place this would change and the charge would be priced depending on the value of the estate.
The proposed new Grant of Probate fee structure would work as follows:
|Value of Estate||Proposed Probate Application Fee|
|Less than £50,000||Nil|
|£50,001 – £300,000||£300|
|£300,001 – £500,000||£1,000|
|£500,001 – £100,000||£4,000|
|£1,000,001 – £1,600,000||£8,000|
|£1,600,001 – £2,000,000||£12,000|
|More than £2,000,000||£20,000|
The Government has argued that the new proposed costs would lift around 30,000 low value estates out of paying the probate application fee whilst ensuring that the fee, for estates with a value over £50,001, never exceeds 1% of the value of any estate.
However, when it comes to estates with a larger value this change would become a financial burden for personal representatives who need to fund the upfront payment as many financial institutions will not release estate monies until after the Grant of Representation has been obtained. It will also be burdensome for personal representatives acting in estates that do not have much in the way of cash but the value is inflated, for example by a large property portfolio.
The fee hike has also been criticised for failing to reflect the genuine administrative cost of the Probate Registry and there is speculation that the majority of the additional money raised is likely to subsidise other areas of the court system.
For any queries regarding applying for a Grant of Probate or any other aspect of estate administration, please contact our Estate Administration and Probate team on 0161 475 1210.